FROM: Project Lead
TO: Arma 3 Users
INFO: Dev Diary Tanoa, Personal Protection, Mod Highlights
For many people in games land, this week is about the annual Gamescom expo in Cologne. While some of our developers are attending its sister-event GDC Europe, we don't have a formal presence at the show this year. We decided to focus on development and use the extra time for all the cool stuff we have coming up. In the next couple of weeks, we'll finally publish our roadmap update blog, with more specifics of the themed updates on the road to the main expansion next year. We've also not stopped the effort to address memory and crash issues in and around the game for upcoming version 1.50.
Whether or not you want the "Scapegoat" achievement on your record may be quite subjective. Only 1.4% of worldwide players have been permanently marked so far. The achievement relates to the free multiplayer Zeus DLC. Watch this useful tutorial video by Luetin to see the framework in action within the editor. One of the Game Master / Moderator abilities is to embody any non-player unit and remotely control it. This is a powerful tool to tell your story. One application is to spawn a civilian in a town, take over control, start role-playing, and provide the players with Intel about their mission. You can also take over an enemy vehicle and engage the players, or help them. Should you get killed by a player while doing so, you get this achievement. You'll have made an innocent NPC your scapegoat.
Using this functionality is simple. Go to the "Modules" list and select "Remote Control" from the "Zeus" category. Drop it onto any non-player entity and start controlling it. There are a few limitations, such as the inability to issue squad commands or to use the UAV Terminal. Press 'Y' to return to the Zeus interface (this also happens when the unit you're possessing dies). Our own Zeus, Karel Mořický, has two tips to share:
- When engaging players, shoot to suppress, not to kill. You can very easily intimidate and scare the players to great effect using this ability, but actually killing them may not be productive for your scenario.
- Speak on the direct speech channel via VOIP. This will even make the NPC's lips move and is a great way to create a more dynamic scene for the players.
There are many great play-through videos out there, but the designers on our team enjoyed this one a lot! EvilViking13 takes us on a tour of trials and errors while designing a coop scenario for his group (the video description details where you can grab it yourself). He narrates a testing session with an analysis of the nature of sandbox games and their complexities in design. Dealing with the vanilla game, mods and handling all the dynamic situations that may occur due to player agency are all factors to consider. There are also some tips and tricks on how to approach creating big and complex missions, by learning as you go. The end result looks like a lot of fun too!
The freshest developer diary is all about Tanoa. Creative Director Jay Crowe and yours truly sat down in the office yard to discuss the inspiration, characteristics, potential and status of the new terrain. The video speaks for itself, but we'll take the opportunity to clarify a few things you were discussing after seeing it:
- The new 3D editor has reached internal Alpha, and is shaping up to be a very useful tool. It retains the simplicity of creating a scenario, but allows far more efficient workflows. This is still a scenario editor, which does not let you modify the terrain itself. It will however be much, much nicer to build complex object compositions. The 3D editor will be free to everyone with Arma 3.
- The work-in-progress water and lighting enhancements will not only be free for all Arma 3 players, but we're also configuring them properly for Altis and Stratis.
- Our stance on building interiors has changed from the main game's terrains. In the broadest terms, fewer buildings will be fully enterable. You'll find more buildings that are partly enterable, and also some that cannot be entered at all. Kavala's hospital is an example of being partly accessible. There are various reasons for this approach. We all know that Altis had a great many enterable buildings, but they were void of furniture and felt suspiciously empty. We don't have the resources to solve this by producing top-notch varied interiors for all buildings. There is also performance to consider, which is helped by having more solid structures. This topic may be controversial, but we felt it better to be open about this at an early stage. We're still producing the final structures and experimenting with the balance, but it's quite clear not every building will have a full interior.
Martin Kašpar, one of the more recent recruits of the animation team, is seen handling one of our prop weapons in the latest weekly photo. We own a collection of disabled and mock-up weaponry that our developers can use for reference material. That may be for actually re-creating a weapon, or for feeling the weight of holding one, looking down sights, manipulating the moving parts, etc. And of course they are just awesome office decorations! Martin himself focuses on the graph of animation states and delivering animations for new features. Some of his recent work has been a special 'frozen' animation spider for competitors in Firing Drills, tweaks of the ambient animals, and fixing reported exploits of player movement.
Improvements of Personal Protection are being tested internally, and should make their way to Dev-Branch not too long from now. Specifically being targeted is the precision of protection on the character's body. At the moment, wearing a helmet will protect your entire head. In the new version, the helmet will actually only protect the parts of the head it covers. Similarly, body armor with special neck and groin plates make a real difference. The trade off between their weight and added protection will become even more pronounced. In technical terms, the change will let encoders define more hit points per piece of protection and configure how damage is distributed. Samples will of course be updated to reflect this.
Lots of good developments were shared in the community since the last report! First up, ACE3 has reached version 3.2.0 and also started distributing an official build of their open-source project via Workshop.
Matt Dean has updated his Marine Expeditionary Force mod to version 2.2, promoting it with some spectacular screenshots of USMC characters, weapons and vehicles. His mod too, you can subscribe to on Workshop.
Our final spotlight of this week (don't be shy modders, share your media and releases with us) shines a light on the C2 - Command & Control framework. It seeks to push squad commanding forward in terms of usability and options. Get it on Workshop now!
The web team reports that the Bohemia Interactive forums were migrated to their new engine, so you can start posting again. The operation took longer than expected due to back-end issues. The previous forums were also heavily customized with pages of plug-ins, which were hard to carry over. We are working on improving the experience, adding some missing features, and doing stylistic tweaks. It may take some more time to get the forums in the shape we'd like to see, but the robustness of the core is going to be important in the long-term.
If you are using the licensed data packages via the special branch of Arma 3 Tools, please copy the data to another location. We'll be removing this branch and Steam mirror of the data. It will remain fully accessible via the primary download locations on our website (direct or Torrent).